Whoa! Bill Maher Just KILLED The Legalization Of Marijuana Debate!

Bill Maher is no stranger to the debate over marijuana legalization. As much as Maher denied that it actually happened at the time, guest Zach Galifianakis once lit a joint on camera during “Real Time with Bill Maher” during a discussion on legalizing pot nationally.

So on Maher’s February 12, 2016 show, Maher closed out his “New Rules” segment with an epic rant on the marijuana debate before lighting a joint on stage.

Maher Lights up a Joint While Talking Progress on Marijuana Legalization

Maher’s arguments are sound. Progress in this area has been notoriously slow, despite the fact that four states – Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska – have already passed bills to legalize pot. This progress is always threatened by federal law criminalizing marijuana. In California, medical marijuana has been legalized and more than 700 dispensaries have opened in recent years in Los Angeles, but today more than 500 of them have been shut down.

The HBO talk-show host decried the “states’ rights” arguments against marijuana legalization, saying that this has historically been used to justify oppressive laws in our country, such as laws that hinder women seeking reproductive health justice, same-sex marriage reform, and segregation. But as Maher points out:

“They just won’t pass it, and I’ll tell you why: because pot is not like gay marriage. With gay marriage, no one stood to lose money if the law changed, but the war on drugs keeps billions flowing to DEA agents and police and prisons. And legal weed would mean that Americans had an alternative to altering their mood with Oxycontin and Budweiser, or as Rush Limbaugh calls it, “lunch.”

Maher pointed out that no “major politicians” have come out in full support of marijuana legalization and criticized President Obama’s very tepid support. President Obama has said that:

“‘As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol,’ Obama said in an interview with The New Yorker.

Pressed on whether marijuana was less dangerous than alcohol, Obama noted that it’s ‘not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.’

But, Obama said, he did see pot as less dangerous ‘in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.'”

As Maher pointed out, pot is actually nothing like cigarettes. Unlike tobacco, marijuana is not physically addictive. Pot is not linked to lung cancer, while tobacco is. In fact, a study from Harvard shows that marijuana has been found to reduce the growth of tumors associated with lung cancer. Marijuana also bears little similarities to alcohol. Long-term studies show that approximately 9% of people who begin smoking pot later abuse it, while more than 20% of people who begin drinking later suffer from alcoholism. Marijuana use is not tied to violence in users while alcohol very much is.

Of course, the effects of marijuana prohibition are intrinsically connected with the oppression of the poor and people of color, also. Even President Obama with his lukewarm support of marijuana legalization, has noted that:

“’Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,’ he said. ‘And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.’

The president said he believed it was unfair that the government was ‘locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing.’

That’s why, Obama said, he was generally supportive of experiments in Washington and Colorado to legalize the drug.

‘It’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.’”

The only way that marijuana legalization will be passed nationally is if supporters rally to pass common sense reform on drug laws. To learn more about the effort to legalize marijuana, or to understand the history and current status of marijuana reform, please visit Norml.org and then let your congressman know: it’s time to use some common sense about marijuana legalization.